« AnteriorContinuar »
And whoever will take the trouble to compare the two throughout, especially in the Greek,* will probably feel little doubt that Mark had Matthew's Gospel before him, and formed his own mainly from it,† omitting and altering occasionally at his own discretion, and introducing in convenient places his own separate stock of information, obtained from Peter or others; which, however, is very small in comparison with the whole, being chiefly the cure of a deaf and dumb man, vii. 31-37; the cure of a blind man at Bethsaida, viii. 22-26; the story of the widow's mite, xii. 41, and some additional particulars concerning the raising of Jairus's daughter, casting the dæmons into the swine, the cure of the lunatic after the transfiguration, and the entry into Jerusalem.
Augustine called Mark the epitomizer of Matthew; and it is true that he shortens the whole narrative by leaving out many of the parables and long discourses. But each separate relation is generally longer; not by the introduction of fresh ideas, but by a repetition of those in the original, and by frequent little obvious explanations. Although plainly following Matthew, he seems frequently to endeavour to amplify his original, so as to render it more exact and forcible: hence, like most second-hand narrators, earnest to set off their story, he falls into a prolix style. Instances
Mark iv. 30, "And he said, whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard-seed, which when it is sown in the earth is less than all the seeds that be in the earth. But when it is sown it groweth up," &c.
Mark vi. 49, "But when they saw him walking upon the
* The phrase in Matt. xxiv. 22, Oun av εowly яασa oap, literally "then should not be saved all flesh," is allowed to be very remarkable Greek. The same occurs word for word in Mark. For more evidence of this kind, see Michaelis on Composition of the first three Gospels.
Usum esse Marcum Matthæi evangelio, apertum facit collatio. Grot. ad Marc. cap. 1, ver. 1.
† Matthew's order of events is much dislocated in Mark as far as Matt. xiv., although the separate parts agree very well; but from that chapter the two narratives correspond to the end.
The words in italics have nothing answering to them in
sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out (For they all saw him and were troubled); and immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them," &c.
Mark viii. 1, In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from afar.
Mark ii. 18, And the disciples of John, and of the Pharisees, used to fast, and they come, and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? &c.
In some places he alters and omits parts of Matthew, apparently with a view to render the narrative more palatable to Gentile readers, who formed an important part of the church at Rome.
Most of Matthew's quotations from the prophets are omitted.
Matt. xv. In the story of the Canaanitish woman, Jesus says, "I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Mark leaves this out altogether. "Then she fell down before him saying, Lord, help me. But he answered, and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." Mark softens this for the Gentiles in this manner: Let the children first be filled, for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs."
Matt. xxiv. 20, "But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day." Mark has omitted the last clause.
Matt. xvii. 10, Jesus says that Elias was already come. "Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist." Mark omits this explanation, so that it must be very doubtful to his readers who the Elias spoken of was. The point was chiefly interesting to Jews.
Matt. x. Jesus commands the twelve, saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and as ye go, preach, saying, the
kingdom of heaven is at hand." Mark omits all this, so that in his account (ch. vi.) it is not at all clear what the commission to the disciples was.
Matt. xix. 28, And Jesus said unto them, "Verily, I say unto you, that ye who have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Mark leaves this out, and proceeds with the rest of the promise, x. 29.
Amongst minor alterations also, the text in Matt. xii. 30, "He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad," is omitted by Mark, whilst the context closely agrees.* This is one indication out of many that it was Mark who borrowed from Matthew, rather than the contrary; for it appears more probable that Mark should have omitted such a text in such a place, than that Matthew should have supplied it. Of the same sort is the application of the two sons of Zebedee. Matthew says the mother spoke for the sons; Mark, that the sons spoke themselves. It seems more likely that Mark should have simplified the first account, than that Matthew should have arbitrarily introduced the mother. The variations in the two are chiefly omissions by Mark, to most of which this argument seems to apply.† Besides, the whole current of external testimony is in favour of Matthew's having written first.
It appears, then, that Mark had not so great a respect for what Matthew had written as to prevent him from altering it at his own discretion. The instances hitherto cited are chiefly in discourses attributed to Jesus; but he was not at all more scrupulous with respect to Matthew's facts, and even some rather prominent ones.
He omits the miraculous birth and the flight into Egypt; yet begins his work with these words, "the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Concerning the temptation, he says only, "The spirit driveth him
* He has altered Matt. xiii. 15, a quotation from Isaiah from the mouth of Jesus, "Lest they be converted, and I should heal them," into "lest they be converted, and their sins be forgiven them." Mark iv. 12.
† The reader is referred to the Appendix, for further evidence as to this and the other peculiarities of Mark's Gospel.
into the wilderness, and he was there forty days tempted of Satan: and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him;" omitting the journey to the top of the temple, and of the mountain.
He omits Peter's casting himself into the sea, Matt. xiv. 28-31; Christ's promise of the keys to Peter, xvi. 20; and his direction to him to pay the tribute from the fish's mouth, xvii. 24-27; although in the two former cases, at least, he appears to copy the context. Chrysostom conIcluded that Peter must have forbidden him to mention these things from modesty; but there appears no backwardness to do honour to Peter in this Gospel. See Mark i. 36; xiii. 3; xxi. 7; on which occasion Peter is not named by the other Evangelists.
He omits the dream of Pilate's wife, the resurrection of the saints, and the earthquake during the crucifixion; although in each case he agrees closely with the context. In consequence of the last omission, the 39th verse, ch. xv. becomes somewhat illogical, for it attributes the centurion's exclamation, "Truly this man was the son of God," to Jesus's uttering a cry and expiring; which was not so good a reason for such a conviction in a Roman soldier as Matthew's earthquake.
Why did Mark choose to suppress these things? Not because he disliked the marvellous, for he has admitted abundance of other miracles; nor because he was in haste, for he has lengthened many parts of Matthew, and added some things of his own; moreover, one would think that such important miracles deserved a preference. It is difficult to avoid concluding, that he omitted them because he did not believe them, and did not expect to be believed if he related them. He had heard Peter, and was writing a book for the use of those who had heard him also. The other parts of Matthew, which he transcribed or epitomized, were probably somewhat corroborated by Peter's preaching, and by the traditions carried to the church at Rome; but for the passages in question, Mark judged that Matthew had not sufficient authority; that it would be at once seen they were not sanctioned by Peter or by any traditions of repute; and from conscientiousness or prudence he determined that his work should not be encumbered with them.
It is impossible to regard Mark's suppression of these passages otherwise than as a tacit condemnation of Matthew. In later times, when the means of ascertaining the truth of each story had diminished, and the whole four Gospels came to be believed in a mass, as resting upon the same authority, divine inspiration, these same questionable passages have been favourite ones with Christians, as proving most strikingly the miraculous character of Jesus. The slight put upon them by Mark seems therefore to proceed from his greater proximity to the time when they were written, which gave him better means than others could have of judging of their truth. Mark's example, then, warns all readers of Matthew, that the latter is not to be implicitly trusted.
On the other hand, the parts of Matthew which are copied by Mark acquire thereby some additional evidence in their favour; which, however, only amounts to this, that Mark believed them, or considered them worth repeating. But this is far from making up sufficient testimony to establish a miracle, for Mark was not an eyewitness; but having undertaken to write a gospel, was obliged, when his memory of Peter's preaching furnished too scanty materials, to collect from elsewhere; and it is allowed that Matthew's Gospel, with all its fictions, was probably the best connected narrative then existing of the life of Christ. Besides, admitting that there may be some parts of Mark which confirm Matthew, although not borrowed from him, both Evangelists may have depended upon some tradition which itself had no good foundation.
In some of the accounts of miracles, where Mark inserts additional particulars, they render the miracle more doubtful than as it stands in Matthew; as in the account of the barren fig-tree. Matthew would make it appear that the tree withered at once when Jesus spoke; but from Mark we learn it was only found withered the next day. So also in the case of the lunatic after the transfiguration: Mark's account shews that the demon convulsed the man after the words were spoken; a very important point, which does not appear in Matthew. And the additional miracles inserted by Mark, the cure of the deaf and dumb man, ch. vii., and of the blind man at Bethsaida, ch. viii.,